Today is the 19th birthday of my first child.
It's an odd feeling to know that your baby boy -- not so much a bouncing baby any more, but now a freshman engineering major at a major university -- will only be a teenager for one more short year.
We went to dinner tonight, the barely-teen, his father, and I. Son the Younger had other things to do. We have a tradition on the birthday of Son the Older. We go to the Black-Eyed Pea, for there my son can eat his favorite food on earth: broccoli rice casserole. And it's been his favorite food since just after his first birthday. If you'll indulge me, I'll repeat an old family story.
It was a tradition in my family that we went to my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve and my great-grandmother's house on Christmas Day. Since my mother was the oldest of 13 children and my grandmother is the oldest of seven, both of these occasions were pretty much a mob scene. Each adult family member had a dish they usually brought to each function. My mom always brought broccoli rice casserole on Christmas Eve.
When my boy had just turned one, we were in Lubbock for Christmas, and I decided to see if he liked the casserole. He ate it faster than I could spoon it into his little open mouth! He ate the bowlful I had spooned out for him and begged for more. I got him another bowlful, with the same results: he emptied it and wanted moremoreMORE. If memory serves, he ate either three or four bowls full of broccoli rice casserole that night.
When he decided he had had his fill of the casserole, I got a piece of my grandmother's made-from-scratch chocolate cream pie (for myself, naturally) and decided to see if my hungry tyke would like to try some. I gave him a bite, and -- GASP! -- he spit it back out at me. And I asked him, "Whose child are you?" Or so the family legend goes.
Ever since a very young age, he has asked for broccoli rice casserole for his birthday dinner. For several years, that was all he ate -- just two or three sides of the casserole, no entree, no dessert. For tonight's dinner, he had a cup of broccoli cheese soup, grilled chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and the infamous casserole. Good eatin'.
When we went back out to our car, we discovered that there was a very large flock of grackles in the tree we'd parked under. If you're familiar with the bird, you know what that means: our car was covered in large splotches of grackle poo. Yuck.
Then, as we walked up to the car, I felt a telltale splat on the top of my head.
Yep. That's right.
I used to merely dislike grackles. Now I really, really hate them.
And I'm really, really glad that my hubby carries tissues in the car.